March 22, 2009

Courtesy of Miami Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The fourth-ranked University of Miami baseball team won its fifth straight series to open the 2009 season with a 7-5 win over No. 7 Virginia in eight innings Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field.

With Virginia leading 5-4 after seven, Miami (18-4, 7-2 ACC) mounted its second late comeback in as many days, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth to take a two-run lead. After tying it up at five, Dave DiNatale scored the go-ahead run for the `Canes on a Jonathan Weislow double over John Barr's head in left, securing the game and series for UM.

The three-hour, 36-minute contest was called after the eight innings due to Atlantic Coast Conference travel policy.

The three-run eighth for UM was started by a Yasmani Grandal walk. After Grandal reached second on a wild pitch, DiNatale doubled to tie it up at five. Weislow fell behind in the count but another wild pitch moved DiNatale to third and moments later, Weislow's smacked what would prove to be the game-winning hit. The `Canes then added an insurance run when a Scott Lawson single two batters later brought home Weislow.

The Hurricanes scored runs all but three half-innings, plating single runs in the first, second, fifth and sixth before the deciding three-run eighth. Virginia (19-2, 5-2), who came into the weekend as the only undefeated team in the country, scored two in the third and three in the seventh.

For the second straight game, Taylor Wulf (2-0) earned the win while Kyle Bellamy recorded the save. Wulf came on in the seventh and allowed three unearned runs before Bellamy came on in the eighth. The Cavaliers made it interesting again in the final frame however. After pinch hitter John Bivens grounded out to lead off the bottom of the eighth, back-to-back walks put runners on first and second with just one out. Bellamy then got Phil Gosselin to strike out swinging for the second out, but a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position for clean-up hitter Dan Grovatt. Bellamy worked Grovatt into a 1-2 count before throwing an inside fastball past him to secure the win for UM.

For the first time in his career, Grandal hit two homers in a game, smacking solo shots in the second and sixth innings. Grandal finished the day 2-for-3 with the two homers, a walk, two RBI and three runs scored, while Lawson, DiNatale and Ted Blackman all finished with two hits.

Four UM pitchers pitched in relief of starter Iden Nazario. Before exiting, Nazario allowed two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out six in 3 1/3 innings of work. Michael Rudman came on in place of Nazario and tossed two shut-out innings before Sam Robinson got UM out of a two-out jam in the sixth with two Cavs on base.

Virginia starter Will Roberts went four innings, allowing two runs on five hits before giving way to Tyler Wilson. Wilson (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing five earned runs on six hits in three innings. Phil Gosselin (3-for-5, three RBI) and Danny Hultzen (2-for-2, one RBI) accounted for five of UVa's nine hits on the afternoon.

For the first time their last seven ACC games, the Hurricanes were able to get on board first, scoring a run in the first to take an early 1-0 advantage. Scott Lawson led off the game with a double to left and after Ryan Jackson moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt, a Chris Herrmann groundout brought Lawson home to put the `Canes ahead.

Grandal made it 2-0 in the second with an opposite field solo blast into the bleachers in left. For Grandal, the homer was his team-leading fifth of the season.

UVa tied it up in the sixth with a walk by Jarrett Parker and back-to-back doubles by Tyler Cannon and Gosselin to lead off the inning. The Cavs threatened again in the fourth, loading the bases with just out out off Nazario, but Rudman came on to force a pop up to second and a grounder to third to get UM out of the jam and keep the game tied at two.

The next half inning, Miami manufactured a run to take a 3-2 lead. Nathan Melendres led off the inning with a single to right and after stealing second and moving to third on Lawson ground-out, Jackson hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Melendres to put UM back on top.

Grandal's second homer came in the sixth with another solo shot - this time over the wall in right - to put the `Canes up by two again.

The Cavaliers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. Tyler Cannon reached on an error to lead off the seventh and scored UVa's third run on a Gosselin double off the wall in left center. Two batters later, the game was tied when Steven Proscia's sacrifice fly to center scored Gosselin from third before Hultzen singled home Hicks for the Cavs' fifth run.

Miami will return to South Florida this week to play a pair of mid-week games against Ohio State at home on Tuesday and at FAU on Wednesday. Tuesday's game at Alex Rodriguez Park is slated for 6 p.m. while Wednesday's game at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.

Game Notes
- Miami scored before its opponent for the first time in the last seven ACC games.
- Yasmani Grandal hit his team-leading fifth and sixth home runs of the season in the second inning and sixth innings respectively.
- Grandal's two homer game was the first of his career and UM's fourth of the season.
- Jonathan Weislow's game-winning hit was his third of the season.
- Michael Rudman tossed two scoreless innings. In 10 2/3 innings (five appearances) this season, Rudman has yet to allow an earned run.
- The win was Miami's 12th come-from-behind victory of the season.

Series Notes
- Miami has now won 21 of its last 22 regular season series and 14 of its last 15 ACC series dating back to 2007.
- Miami improved to 17-9 all-time against Virginia after taking two-of-three from the Cavs.
- Ted Blackman led the `Canes in hitting on the weekend, going 5-for-9 (.556).
- Yasmani Grandal also had five hits on the weekend, finishing 5-for-11 (.455) with two homers, three RBI, four runs scored and 12 total bases.
- Taylor Wulf earned both of UM's wins while Kyle Bellamy picked up two saves. The duo held UVa scoreless in five combined relief innings.
- Miami hit .284 on the weekend while UM pitchers turned in a 3.24 ERA.
- Of Virginia's 17 runs on the weekend, only nine were earned.
- Attendance for the three-game series at Davenport Field was a combined 7,317.